Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bernie opens up massive lead among college students

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Data: College Reaction; Note: ±3.4 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the last two months, Bernie Sanders has surged 20 points among college students to become the group's clear 2020 favorite, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

Why it matters: The numbers reflect the extent to which young Democratic voters are embracing socialism and rejecting moderate choices.

By the numbers: While his pitch to voters has remained constant, Sanders has continuously gained traction among college students, rising from 15.5% in September to 22.5% in December and now 42.3%.

  • It has been Sanders, not moderate candidates, appearing to win peel-off support as competitors like Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker have dropped out of the race.
  • An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll this week laid bare just how weak support is for moderate candidates among young Democratic voters. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents 45 and under:
  1. Sanders - 54%
  2. Warren - 16%
  3. Bloomberg - 8%
  4. Biden - 6%
  5. Buttigieg, Klobuchar - 5%

Flashback: Recent polling shows that 70% of millennials would vote for a socialist, compared to 36% of baby boomers and 33% of the Silent Generation.

Methodology: The poll was conducted Feb. 17 from a representative sample of 820 college students with a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally and use college e-mail addresses as an authentication tool to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the United States.

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Why it matters: The poll notes that only 42% of Democratic primary voters have made up their minds. While Warren underperformed in the first three states, her strong debate performance in Nevada last week may have given her campaign new life.

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Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Anti-Sanders campaign targets black South Carolina voters

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.